OFFICE POLITICS by Wilfrid Sheed


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George Wren's ideas and attitudes were formed by a liberal ""little magazine"" called The Outsider. So when he is invited to join the editorial staff, he leaves his more lucrative job at CBS for the satisfaction of doing something in which he can believe. (The Outsider, after all, is read by Adlai Stevenson and Madam Pandit.) But George learns more on his new job than house style. Gilbert Twining, the guiding light of the publication, an Englishman who rules easily and well, suffers a heart attack. He is laid up for a while and during the interregnum, the editors vie for contol. Yet none of them is a graceful leader nor an efficacious one. Twining's effete charisma had formed them too solidly. ""They all went stiff as marionettes,"" George, everybody's confidant, observes and ""began goose-stepping all over you."" Twining returns to a kind of chaos and puts his house in order. He ceases to have any power over George, who sees him analytically for the first time..Sheed is a crisp, witty and incisive writer on questions of mortality, failure, marriage, the meaningless friendships formed in offices, the quiet desperation of the second-rate, the tenuous relationships of the leading to those who are led, etc. But Office Politics is only credible if one accepts the fact that Twining's style is good enough to fool a bright guy like George Wren so completely for so long. And that's difficult.

Pub Date: Sept. 12th, 1966
Publisher: Farrar, Straus & Giroux